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19 Jun 2017
World Class eyes low-cost brand and franchises
By Deven Pamben
World Class eyes low-cost brand and franchises
Nikolay Pryanishnikov said the business could possibly open franchises in non-Russian speaking countries

Premium Russian fitness operator World Class plans to build a budget gym brand and grow its franchise operation as part of its growth strategy.

Speaking in the latest Health Club Management, its chief executive Nikolay Pryanishnikov outlined "three pillars for growth" that the company would be pursuing.

One of the pillars is diversification. The group has been piloting a boutique concept but Pryanishnikov is "not overly optimistic" about the model and does not see it making "serious money".

He said: "I don’t think many boutiques are really making much money, and it will be even harder to do so in Russia because working practices mean off-peak hours will be empty.

"We’ll also be exploring the low-cost segment, either on our own or in partnership. I’d like to make some progress on that in the next year. We already have some budget clubs operating under the Fitzkult brand, as franchises, but I want to create a true low-cost brand."

Another pillar for growth is franchising. World Class has around 40 franchise sites but is looking to grow that to 150 or even 200 over the next five years.

As well as Russia, Pryanishnikov said the business could possibly open franchises in non-Russian speaking countries, including the UK, Germany and France.

The third pillar is maintaining its market leader position in the premium sector in Moscow.

The group, which has been operating in Russia for 24 years, has 82 clubs: 74 in Russia, five in Kazakhstan, and one each in Kyrgystan, Belarus and Monaco.

It has 30 clubs in Moscow but Pryanishnikov said the company wanted to grow its estate in the city to 40 clubs over the next five years to reinforce its "market dominance".

Click here for the full interview.

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